The NFL world convened in Indianapolis this week for the NFL scouting combine, which has mailbag readers asking about draft prospects, coaching changes and more.
Let’s dive into this week’s mailbag for answers.
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The most likely answer is that the New England Patriots’ coaching staff is set. They’re getting late in the process in the middle of the NFL scouting combine, but I am still keeping my eye on at least one more potential candidate. Nothing to report yet, but one more option could become available for the Patriots in a potential quarterback coach role.
The Patriots’ current offensive staff currently includes Ivan Fears, Vinnie Sunseri, Troy Brown, Nick Caley, Billy Yates and Joe Judge, though Fears could retire. Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick also could take on bigger offensive roles this season.
To my knowledge, the only person on the Patriots’ staff who has experience calling offensive plays is Belichick. That’s definitely unique.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Patriots still don’t have an official defensive coordinator with Steve Belichick, Jerod Mayo and Bill Belichick all sharing the role. So, the Patriots currently don’t have an offensive or defensive coordinator. It’s not the first time. They also didn’t have either in 2010 when Bill O’Brien was the de facto offensive coordinator as quarterbacks coach while Patricia was the de facto defensive coordinator as linebackers coach.
@pats300levelpod: What rounds (if at all) do you envision EJ Perry being drafted? Any particular teams stand out as to who may draft either player?
Brown QB EJ Perry tested well at the NFL scouting combine with a 4.65-second 40-yard dash, 34.5-inch broad jump and 10-feet, 3-inch broad jump, and I’ve heard he could be selected as early as the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Perry comes from the FCS, but he possesses good size and athleticism, averaging seven yards per carry during his college career in the Ivy League.
The top five quarterbacks in this year’s draft are pretty well set – in some order – with Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Sam Howell, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral. Who comes off the board next, whether that’s Perry, Nevada’s Carson Strong, Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe, Notre Dame’s Jack Coan or someone else could depend on testing, medicals and preference.
UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen is acknowledging the buzz that he could break the NFL scouting combine record in the 40-yard dash. So, if a 6-foot-4 cornerback runs a 4.2-second 40-yard dash, he would be the biggest riser at the combine.
Woolen has a fascinating story. He started his college career as a wide receiver and was moved to cornerback during the end of his sophomore season. The fastest a 6-foot-3 cornerback has ever run at the combine is a 4.43-second 40-yard dash — Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King.
I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Ja’Marr Chase, but Treylon Burks is definitely an intriguing prospect. He ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash on Thursday night at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and was an electric playmaker at Arkansas. He’s really impressed with his overall strength in training. And while it’s also unfair to compare a wide receiver to Deebo Samuel, Burks does have the potential to be a threat in the running game.
Here are the top five cornerbacks on PFF's 2022 NFL Draft big board:
- Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
- Trent McDuffie, Washington
- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
- Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
- Jalen Pitre, Baylor
It’s a pretty good year to need a cornerback, and those names at the top are flipped depending on who you ask. Gardner was incredible this season, as he let up just 122 yards all season and never allowed more than three catches or 18 yards in a single game. He also didn’t allow a touchdown while recording three interceptions for 22.6 passer rating allowed.
Utah’s Devin Lloyd is the No. 1 linebacker on PFF's big board this season. He earned a 90.2 overall grade in 2021, playing 849 snaps for the Utes. He has good size at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and graded out well as a run defender, pass-rusher and in coverage.
Lloyd ranked eighth among qualified linebackers with 56 defensive stops, allowed a 53.9 passer rating, was 11th among linebackers with 31 total pressures and ranked fifth with eight sacks.